Impacts—King Tide Photos

Summary: Climate induced sea level rise can lead to erosion and flooding events that threaten natural and human communities, establish new coastlines, and change ecosystems. Coastal citizens can help document sea level changes by participating in the Oregon King Tide Photo Project. At a few specific times of the year when the moon is closest to the Earth, Oregon experiences extremely high tides known as “King Tides”. Volunteers photograph coastal areas during these extreme high tides, and the images they capture help the public visualize and understand the impacts of sea level rise in the coming decades.

Concepts to teach:


  1. King Tides are especially high tides that occur a few times a year
  2. King Tides show what everyday water levels could look like as sea level rises
  3. Citizens participating in King Tide Photo projects can help raise awareness of potential sea level rise impacts and help identify flood-prone locations

Standards: NGSS Performance Expectations

  • 3-LS4-4.Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change

Specific Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  1. Use photos to describe the impacts of extreme high tides on a coastal area
  2. Identify potential solutions to a flooding problem caused during King Tide events
  3. Describe how observations of King Tides help people understand the impacts of climate change

Activity Links and Resources:

  • Background information about King Tides and Climate Change from EPA
  • Oregon King Tide Photo Project—Citizens photo-document the impacts of coastal flooding during extreme high tides.
    • Check the Flickr page to see if there is a photo for an area you can visit with your class. Take your photos of the location during your visit and compare them to the photos taken during a King Tide.
    • Plan a field trip to a coastal area during a King Tide event to take your own photos. Have students identifiable spot at the field site and take photos, recording location and time. If possible, try to visit the site more than once during your trip, during different phases of the tide. Be sure to stay safe; and do not allow students to get too close to the water. Ideally, take photos from a viewpoint safely above the shoreline.
  • Design a solution—Some areas are flooded during King Tides. Ask students to identify an example of a place where a King Tide causes a problem and design a solution to address the problem. For example, if a picnic table is covered with water during a King Tide, students may suggest that the park rangers could move the table to higher ground.


  • Share King Tide photographs online with the Oregon King Tide Photo Project
  • Have students compare and contrast photos they take on a field trip with those of the same area taken during a King Tide event. What accounts for differences in the water levels observed in the photos?
  • Discuss the implications of extreme high tides, especially during storms. How do images of King Tides help people understand more about sea level rise?
  • Students identify a place for which tidal flooding is a problem, and identify potential solutions to the problem.